Socio-economic and political aspects of biodiversity conservation in Nepal
Although a very poor country, Nepal has established an extensive protected area system. Many visitors are attracted by some of these parks, helping to make tourism the top foreign exchange earner. Landmark events for wildlife conservation during recent Nepalese history are identified, especially the 1961-90 rule of the monarchy and the present decentralized democratic system which succeeded it. Although many problems remain, Nepal has gone further than most countries towards reconciling: the needs and aspirations of local people with protected area management, and the economic opportunities offered by nature tourism with its ecological threats. Innovative projects have emphasized the socio-economic aspects of conservation and legislation has recently been passed to formalize the status of park buffer zones. The future of Nepal's protected areas may depend on how effectively these initiatives can be implemented and how effectively their lessons can be applied on a broader front.